It has always been fascinating for lovers of old Hindi films and songs to marvel at the genius of Kishore Kumar, the producer, director,writer, music director, actor and, above all, singer, who ruled the Indian film scene on his terms during about four decades from the 1950s.Even now the young and the old adore him for the wonderful songs he had composed for himself as well as for other singers and for the innumerable songs of different genre he rendered for all the other acclaimed music directors of the period. For me, what makes Kishore Kumar’s contribution to film music different is the fact that almost all his songs upto the middle of the 70s, were popular and there would never be a dull moment when we listen to these songs be it a melody, a semi classical, a grief filled, a hilarious or even an ‘non sensical’one. His unique voice, open throated style of singing, adaptability to the mood and situation of the song, his very successful stage shows which probably started the trend of audience participation all made him a darling of the masses.
While Dev Aanand continued his success pairing with several of the leading female artists of Hindi film world, for S.D. Burman, Kishore remained a favourite voice for Dev Aanand even in the 60s , but in a limited way, with songs like ‘Yeh dil na hota bechaara’and the duet with Lata,viz., ‘Aasman ke neeche’ from film JEWEL THIEF (1967) wth Vyjayanthimala in the lead. In TEEN DEVIAN(1965), with Simi Garewal, Nanda and Kalpana in the female lead, there is this haunting melody of Kishore, in two versions, viz. ‘Khawab ho tum ya koi haqueeqat’ reminding us of SDB’s own superhit ‘Pyar dewaana hota hai mastana hota hai’ by Kishore from the epoch-making musical film AARADHANA. In the superhit film GUIDE(1965) the music of which had earned huge popularity for SDB, there was only one song , that too a duet with Lata, for Kishore, viz., Gaata rahe mera dil’ which is a departure from the past. In fact Rafi was given the pride of place with two haunting melodies,’Kya se kya ho gaye’ and ‘Tere mere sapne’. Again there was no song for Kishore in film MANZIL(1960), a Dev Aanand Nutan starrer in which SDB preferred Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar and Rafi instead of Dev Aanand’s usual voice Kishore. It happened in Dev Aanand’s other musical hits like BOMBAI KA BABU(1960-Suchitra Sen) , KALA BAZAR(1960 Waheeda Rahman) and KALA PANI(1959- Madhubala). In all of them it was Muhammed Rafi all the way. The fact that this had happened in films of Dev Aanand’s own production house, Navketan, speaks for itself. Yes, by 1960 and for the next decade Rafi had emerged as the top male voice in Hindi films. But, still, SDB used the voice of Kishore in yet another Dev Aanand film PREM PUJARI(1970-Sharmila Tagore) for this soft melodious song,’Phoolon ke rang se dil ki kalam se’ to the utter delight of Dev-SDB-Kishore fans.
The outstanding performance of Amitab Bachhan in film Namak Haram propelled him into stardom and two very successful films followed with S.D.Burman’s music and Kishore rendering some of his top romantic songs for Amitab Bachan. The first is film ABHIMAN(1973-Jaya Bahduri)with the song, ‘Meet na mila re man ka’ and the duet with Lata, ‘Tere mere Milan ki yeh raina’. The other film is MILI(1975-Jaya Bahduri) with two songs by Kishore,viz., ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’ and the soulful ‘Aaye tum yaad mujhe’. Two other notable RDB-Amitab-Kishore films are Hare Rama Hare Krishna(1971-Zeenat Aman)and Manzil(1971-Mousumi Chatterjee). The ‘rain’ song ‘Rim jim gire saaawan’ from film Manzil is remembered even today for the beauty of the composition and the picturisation of the scene. Two out of the eight Filmfare Awards for best singer were won by Kishore for his songs for Amitab, viz., for film DON (Music by Kalyanji Aanandji) ‘Khaike pan Banarasiwala’, and for NAMAK HALAL(Music Bappi Lahri-1982-Smita patil)the beautiful and one of the rare semi classical numbers of Kishore, ‘Pag ghunguroo bandh Meera naachi thi’.That reminds me of RDB’s song for film SAAGAR(1986-Rishi Kapoor-Dimple),viz., ‘Saagar kinare’ which gave Kishoren another Filmfare Award for the best singer.
Kishore and RDB had also created a few wonderful songs, especially duets with Lata for Sanjeev Kumar. Film AANDHI(1975) is noted for three of the best ever duets of Hindi films, viz.,’Is mod pe jaate hain’, ‘Tum aa gaye ho noor aa gaya’ and the immortal ‘Tere bina zindagi’. There is another haunting duet in film AAP KI KASAM, viz., ‘Karvten badalte rahen’.In film ANAMIKA(1973)there is this evergreen solo ‘Mere bheegi bheegi si’ and in film PARICHAY(1972-Sanjeev-Jaya Bahduri-Jitendra)the melodious ‘Musaafir hoon na yaro’ picturised on Jitendra. I also remember a glorious O.P.Nayyar duet of Kishore and Asha in film BAAP RE BAAP, ‘Piya piya piya mera jiya pukare’ with the typical ‘tonga beats’ making the song energetic and pleasing. http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=PIYA+PIYA++PIYA&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz35
Music directors Laxmikant Pyarelal had composed some of the evergreen melodies for Kishore Kumar.In Mr.X IN BOMBAY the song. ‘Mere mehboob khayamat hogi’;for film DAAG the song , ‘Mere dil mein aaj kya hai’; in filmDO RAASTE the song ‘Mere nazeeb mere dost’ and for film HUM SUB USTAD HAI the song ‘Ajnabi tum jane pehchane se’ come readily to mind.
I also remember a few popular songs of Shankar Jaikishen for Kishore Kumar. One is ‘Nakhre wale’ from film NEW DELHI; another is ‘Hum matwale naujaawan’ from film SHARARAT;two from film RANGOLI,’Rangoli sajaore’ and ‘Chhoti se yeh duniya’. Kishore’s ability to ‘yodel’ has been used with great effect by S&J for some of these songs. Kishore’s song ‘Zindagi ek safar ek suhana’ of film ANDAZ(1971) was the top of the chart song of the popular Binaca Geetmala program of Radio Ceylon in 1971.
Composer Ravindra Jain’s ‘Ghungaroo ki tarah’ (Film Chor Machaaye Shor-1974),Hermant Kumar’s ‘Woh Shaam kuch ajeeb thi’(Film-Khamoshi),and lyricist turned music director Prem Dhavan’s, ‘Teri duniya se hoke majboor chala’(Film Pavitra Papi)are some of the other songs which passed through my mind.The last named used to be heard repeatedly over the radio during early 70s but, regrettably it appears, the song has gone into oblivion.
Kishore Kumar, the eternal comedian on the screen and the best and the last ‘yodeller’of Hindi film music, had used his talent for both to great effect especially in films in which he himself had acted and composed music. Film CHALTI KA NAAM GADI ( music SDB) was a full length hilarious comedy where an old motor car was the real hero. Film JHUMROO, for which he himself composed music has a few of the top melodious songs in which he freely yodelled to the delight of the discerning listeners. The title song, ‘Main hoon jhoom jhoom’, ‘Thandi hawa’ and ‘Matwale hum’ are examples. The grief filled ‘Koi hum dum na raha’ is, probably, the best song composed by Kishore in which his voice comes out in all its glory to create the mood of the song. In the famous ‘Mere samnewale kidki’ song of film PADOSAN, in the ‘zaroorat hai zaroorat hai’ song from film Manmouji( Madan Mohan), and in the ‘Priye praneswari’ song from film HUM TUM AUR WOH(Kalyanji Aanandji),’ his ability as a comedian comes to the fore. Two of the most ‘nonsensical’ but highy pleasing songs ever were also by Kishore,viz., ‘Ina mina dika, dai dama nika’(Film-Aasha-C.Ramachandra) and ‘C. A. T. cat mane billie’ (Film Dilli ka Thug-Ravi). The muti pronged talent of Kishore could be seen in the films ‘DOOR KA RAHI and DOOR GAGAN KI CHAAON MEIN’, both films written, produced, directed and ted by him besides composing music and singing a few songs.’ Aa chal ke tujhe’ and ‘ Koi lauta de mere’ from Door Gagan and ‘Jeevan se nahar’ and ‘Panth hoon mein is path’ from Door ka Rahi were comparable with any of the top songs he sang for SDB and RDB. Who can forget his duet with the newcomer Sulakshna Pandit,viz., ‘Bequarar dil’ for Door ka Rahi? http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=Bequarar+dil&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz35
Kishore Kumar, the genius, always wore a mask of eccentricity probably to guard his privacy and led a life away from the limelight towards the end of his career. His tiff with the Income Tax authorities were well known reflected in this hilarious song ‘Guni jano bhakth jano’with words coined by the names of film stars and films and the song ending with words ‘Peeche pad gaya income taxum’!( Film Ansu aur Muskan-Kalyanji Aanandji). Many still remember the out and out comedy film CHALTI KA NAAM GADI. Who else but Kishore could direct a full length parody film BADDTHI KA NAAM DADHI?
Tail piece:-Unbelievable that Kishore did not sing a song for composer Naushad!